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Ad Reinhardts tongue in cheek statement that he went beyond Mondrian is rarely taken at face value.
There is Skippy, Rice Krispies, and Ad Reinhardt. Skippy is the peanut butter that goes on smooth, Rice Krispies, the cereal that goes snap-crackle-pop, and Ad Reinhardt, the guy who paints black squares.
Ad Reinhardts proposed leaflet for an art-strike in 1961 showcases the painters Rabelaisian affection for lists, as well as a vivid sample of the artists disaffection with the art world.
Just as artists were collapsing art and life Ad Reinhardt was mightily prying them back apart.
A typical Reinhardt-Hess office conversation, easygoing at first, would accelerate to a flurry of pronouncements, rebuttals, and arguments centering on one or another recent art event.
From 1944 to 1946, Ad Reinhardt was removed from the vibrant artistic and intellectual communities in which he had participated and immersed in the strategic preparations and bureaucratic procedures of active duty, even if he did not see battle himself.
While Reinhardt is best known as a painter of reductive, dark abstract canvases, he had a life-long interest in photography.
Perhaps the question that was on my mind while rereading Reinhardts early lecture was in the air when it was written: did Reinhardt really have the courage of his convictions in his work at that time?
Across the 10 stanzas of Sidney Alexanders poem Intellectual to Worker, the eponymous intellectual desperately attempts to talk straight to the worker across the table from him, his comrade.
For many years, I have started my Art Since 1945 survey with Ad Reinhardts How to Look at Modern Art in America, first published in the summer of 1946 in PM.
During World War II, Ad Reinhardts cartoons for the Races of Mankind pamphlet engaged what Gunnar Myrdal later called the American Dilemma.
A modern painter's worst enemy is the picture-maker who somehow creates in people the illusion that one need not know anything about art or art-history to understand it.
An acknowledged pioneer in American abstract painting, in the mid-1940s Ad Reinhardt was also a journalist.
This gouache on photographic paper roughly matches the artists program for his black paintings.
In 1964 I started Tanglewood Press. My first portfolio was mostly Pop, not totally, but it was representative of what was going on in the American art scene in 1964 65.
As a body of work, Reinhardts prints raise issues of authorship, authenticity, and politics in ways that appear neither in his painting nor in his satirical cartoons and written work.
Alexander Nagel is Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. His last book, Medieval Modern: Art out of Time, was published by Thames and Hudson in 2012.
Ad Reinhardt would willingly agree: it is easier to talk about his paintings in negatives than in positives.
Reinhardts paintings do not stand apart from the history of art by the fact of their nihilations but only by the sheer quantity of those.